New study reveals potential of e-bikes to reduce CO2 emissions

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A new study published in the journal Transport Policy has found that e-bikes could reduce car CO2 emissions by 24.4 million tonnes per year in England.

Authored by Ian Philips, Jillian Anable, and Tim Chatterton, the report titled E-bikes and their capability to reduce car CO2 emissions identified 3,400 communities with both a high capability of replacing car journeys with e-bike trips, and signs of economic vulnerability to increasing costs associated with car ownership.

Through this research, the paper found that there is more potential for e-bikes to replace car journeys in rural areas than in urban ones.

The headline figure for a reduction in CO2 emissions is based around an estimation of the extent to which individuals are capable of travelling by e-bike and their ability to replace car travel.

This is done through spatial microsimulation, which takes into account area type and the geodemographic circumstances of the population, with the replacement of 24.4 million tonnes of CO2 the upper capability of replacing car journeys with e-bike rides.

“Our results are directly relevant to policy actors internationally who require evidence on place-based decarbonisation capability, particularly where car dependence is high,” the paper read.

“The results highlight how context is important in any attempt to design policy for equitable carbon reduction both to influence discussion on what is possible, as well as practical identification of areas for targeted intervention. Digital indicators covering all zones in a country’s geography such as this are also useful because of the rapid digitalisation of policymaking.”

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